Articles / 20 January 2018

Making a difference for crayfish

Stuart Nash, Minister of Fisheries

LegaSea is pleased that the Minister Stuart Nash has agreed to review the crayfish fishery on the northeast coast after years of lobbying by thousands of individuals, the New Zealand Underwater Association, and the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council.

Having the CRA 2 fish stock, between Waipu and East Cape, deplete to the point where experienced divers don’t bother getting in the water any more is a sad reflection on the mismanagement of this precious fishery. The good news is that our voices are finally being heard.

Thanks to your efforts there is now some recognition that crayfish abundance is poor and a rebuild is required. Even if you don’t fish or dive in this region these latest developments clearly demonstrate that we can make a difference to management if we stand together on an issue.

Last March we issued an online survey that elicited a strong response, receiving insightful comments from people who had been fishing and diving for 20 years or more. In July 2017 LegaSea launched the ‘Crayfish Crisis’ campaign and video, and held meetings with dive and fishing clubs. Over 780 emailed their concerns to the then Minister Nathan Guy, and their local MP.

During September and October the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council sent representatives to the five Rock Lobster Working Group meetings in Wellington. This is where the data used in the stock assessment model is discussed and results reviewed. An important change was made to the model, which now takes into account the increased efficiency of commercial harvesting due to progressive improvements in electronics and vessels.

Finally, the science is getting closer to reflecting what is really happening out on the water.

In November we sent representatives to two multi-stakeholder meetings, one in Whakatane the other in Thames. Commercial, customary and recreational fishers agreed that the stock needs to be rebuilt. It’s how we get there that counts.

Some short-term management targets have been discussed that will ensure the rebuild starts in 2018.

The upcoming CRA 2 review is expected in February. LegaSea wants you to have a say on the future management of this once-abundant fishery.

Please, have a think about what you would like the CRA 2 fishery to look like in the future and what you enjoy about diving or potting for crayfish. LegaSea will soon conduct a survey to learn about your summer crayfish experiences. When you see the survey get stuck in and have your say.

Fisheries Management Annual Report

The LegaSea Annual Report has been issued and is included in the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council’s Fisheries Management Annual Report 2017. The report can be downloaded here.

Subscribe a mate

To be successful we need people engaged and learning about the state of our inshore fisheries. Ask your friends, family, any fishing folk, “May I please have your permission to subscribe to the LegaSea database?” Then click here to enter their details. If you want us to do the data entry send us an email with the details. Easy as.

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